The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Matthias Schmale, has said election violence often starts with divisive statements and hate speech.
Schmale stated this in his speech titled, “Electoral violence undermines inclusive electoral processes, especially with regard to rule of law and human rights including women’s participation,” during a high-level consultations with key stakeholders and signing of Enugu State Peace Accord ahead of the coming general elections.
The event was organised by the National Peace Committee, The Kukah Centre, the United Nations, and the Enugu State Peace Committee.
A statement sent to our correspondent on Sunday noted that Schmale stressed that it was important to include and maximise the presence of religious and traditional leaders and active civil society organisations, including women and youth groups in Enugu State who could disseminate messages promoting peaceful elections to the state’s 17 Local Government Areas.
He noted “We know that peaceful elections in Nigeria start with peaceful elections in Local Government Areas and the states. Enugu must claim its status as one of the prominent states in the nation where peace reigns and where political differences and intolerance are managed through non-violent means.
“Members of the Enugu State Peace Architecture and other stakeholders are already engaged in promoting social cohesion and enhancing the role of alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.”
Representing the National Peace Committee, Emmanuel Nkanka, read out the draft Peace Accord which was also projected on the screen for participants to see, urging candidates and political parties to obey the peace accord they signed.